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FLICKS: How to Train Your Dragon2, Le Chef & Living Easy with Eyes Closed

Posted on 26 June 2014 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

It was during the ending of the first movie that I realized that How to Train Your Dragon was going for something deeper. With the onslaught of animated motion pictures, one felt a sense of diminishing returns, although the visuals, humor and musical score made the original Dragon film a cut above most offerings at the time. Would How to Train Your Dragon 2 survive high expectations?

It is the first moments of both brilliant and supple animation that one knows they are going on an epic journey. The first view is that of Nordic water. As the scope expands, one sees the depth of details on the island village of Berk. Our hero,

Hiccup (voiced again by Jay Baruchel), and his best friend, Toothless the dragon, are surveying uncharted isles. The two run afoul dragon poachers, who want to enslave dragons to take over Hiccup’s hometown. Hiccup warns his father and tribal chief, Stoick (Gerard Butler) and sidekick Gobber (Craig Ferguson) about the threat. When the name of “Drago” (Djimon Hounsou) is mentioned, Stoick prepares for the worst, (as Stoick said earlier, “Men who kill without reason are men you cannot reason with”).

Dragon 2 takes on a darker tone with a touch of Scottish melancholia. Parents be warned, there is a traumatic scene that is as stunning as Lassie getting shot in the paw. Somehow the film ends in triumph that does not seem forced.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a full epic presented in 98 minutes, with a score worthy of an Oscar nomination. Guillermo Del Toro and Drew Suzen are acknowledged in the credits for their contributions, most likely for so many visual Easter eggs. How to Train Your Dragon 2 has earned it’s box office and critical success.

A French comedy with English subtitles, Le Chef opens tomorrow. It stars Jean Reno and Michael Youn as bickering chefs who unite to challenge the status quo of snooty food critics and corporate downsizing. Based on a true story, this light comedy provides much mouth-watering close-ups of French cuisine.

Living is Easy with Eyes Closed (Vivir es Facil con los Ojos Cerrados) is inspired by John Lennon’s visit to Spain, circa 1966. Spoken in Spanish with English subtitles, a classroom teacher uses Lennon’s lyrics to teach English to his students. Planning a road trip to meet the myopic Beatle, the teacher takes two passengers on his quest, a runaway and a pregnant teenager.

There are plenty of dramatic choices this weekend at the movies.

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